The involvement of social organisations is key in national decision-making processes. Therefore, the Żywa Ziemia Coalition presented its assessment of the government’s position on the CAP reform to the Minister of Agriculture, stressing that environmental and climate objectives should now be a priority.
Current solutions under the Common Agricultural Policy are valid for the years 2014–2020, which is why the European Union is currently working on the shape of the CAP after that period expires. In August 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development published a draft position of the Polish government on the package of legislative proposals regarding the CAP post-2020. The position was analysed and evaluated by the Żywa Ziemia Coalition, which brings together organisations working for the benefit of socially just and environmentally responsible agriculture. The Coalition presented its formal opinion to the Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski during the conference "Greener Agriculture for a Sustainable Baltic Sea" on September 25, 2019 in Warsaw.
The Coalition stresses that citizens and organisations have the right and even the obligation to participate in shaping the CAP. It also believes that "Poland’s food quality and food security take precedence over the implementation of objectives aimed at a short-term increase in the productivity and competitiveness of a selected group of entities involved in agricultural production." The Coalition finds it particularly worrying that the government's position presents environmental and climate objectives as challenges and threats adversely affecting the financial interests of Polish farmers, whereas, in the opinion of the Coalition, they should be treated as overriding priorities.
The Coalition's position should interest anyone who cares about the sustainable development of European agriculture.
Member organisations of the Coalition call for a change in the way agricultural policy is pursued in Poland. They believe it is necessary to stop supporting industrial agriculture, the main objective of which is to achieve a short-term increase in productivity and competitiveness. In their opinion, this leads to environmental degradation and does not contribute to achieving permanent food security for Poland.
On top of that, the Coalition brought forward the following proposals:
- irrespective of the budget adopted for the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020, granting the highest subsidies to those agricultural producers who contribute the most to the protection of the environment and climate;
- setting compulsory minimum spending on environmental and climate objectives at 70% in each CAP strategic plan;
- linking the activation schemes for young farmers with the compulsory implementation of measures to achieve environmental and climate objectives by this group;
- linking the funds spent under Pillar I with the implementation of environmental and climate objectives under the so-called conditionality;
- reducing significantly or eliminating the use of pesticides, in particular neonicotinoids, in order to halt the mass extinction of bees and reduce the negative impact of pesticides on human health;
- linking the 'Budget for Schools' scheme with the local production of food, especially organic food, and its implementation in the form of green public procurement.
The Żywa Ziemia Coalition called on the Polish government and relevant ministries to take into account its demands in work on the national strategic plan. It also announced it would address its subsequent opinions and proposals on agricultural policy to those in power and expressed its willingness to cooperate in shaping the policy.
The views expressed and conclusions made in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.